The ECO scheme, introduced in January 2013, was established to provide a structure to help reduce the UK’s energy usage and help low-income households, specifically households living in fuel poverty. The funding of energy efficiency measures (to the tune of £1.3 billion annually) would help the UK hit its carbon reduction fuel poverty targets.
The main obligations contained within ECO include:
Affordable Warmth Obligation:
This particular tranche provides funding for both heating and insulation measures to low-income homeowners and tenants in receipt of qualifying benefits. These consumers are considered vulnerable and suffer fuel poverty.
Carbon Saving Community Obligation (now discontinued):
This stream of funding provides insulation measures to homes within specific low-income areas, with 15% of every utility company’s obligation used to upgrade low-income households located in rural areas.
Carbon Saving Reduction Obligation:
Funding to cover insulation measures for properties in areas deemed hard-to-treat. These measures include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation.
Changes to ECO
The ECO Scheme has now been updated and there have been some positive tweaks, particularly the focus on fuel poverty and inclusion of E to G rated social housing in the Affordable Warmth bracket:
- An extension of ECO to run from April 2017 to September 2018
- A total of £640m to be allocated annually
- Greater emphasis on fuel poverty and the Affordable Warmth group (with focus on cavity wall insulation and loft insulation), plus Off-Gas heating measures including the replacement of Oil boilers and LPG boilers
- A cap on Gas boiler replacements (set at 25,000)
- Properties within social housing, EPC rated E, F or G are now eligible for Affordable Warmth funding (insulation measures only)
- A minimum target for solid wall insulation (21,000 installs annually)
- Re-introduction of Deemed Scores, which provides a different method of calculating funding per household
- A Flexible Eligibility mechanism for Local authorities
The next phase of the ECO scheme is expected to come into play 2018 to 2022.
How ECO funding can be used to obtain a boiler grant
So now that you have some idea of the types of funding available, here’s an example of a qualifying claimant who would automatically qualify for a grant towards the cost of a new A-rated, energy efficient boiler:
- A tenant living in a privately owned property
- Existing boiler 10 years old
- In receipt of working tax credits
- Living with four children
- Earning less than £25,800
In order to receive a new eco grant, the customer would find an online grants specialist, have a technical survey conducted at the property and once the funding is calculated, a boiler replacement would be installed within 3 weeks.
For more information on applying for a boiler grant, simply contact ECO Grants on 0330 808 4365 or visit their website at www.ecogrants.org.uk.